So it seems that we are not the only people to be massively impressed by Judge Smith's Orfeas album. The following review is from a French wesbite, and is translated by those jolly nice people at Google. We are posting it for several reasons, not the least because the sentiments expressed are very similar to our own; like us he was someone that they had vaguely heard of, and like us the release of Orfeas has turned them into a true fan...
His name sounds perhaps like a distant echo in the memory of some. Judge Smith is indeed the co-founder of Van der Graaf Generator with Peter Hammill , although it has left the adventure start 1969 before recording the first 33 laps of this group. Occupied by various musical projects, from design stage performances to composing for other artists, creating an opera of modern music in a TV series and even a film, Judge Smith expects 1991 to produce his first album, a collection of songs written between 1968 and 1977 ("Democrazy") and 1993 for his first original album is finally born ("Dome Of Discovery").
In the 2000s, he moves up a gear than seven CDs released since, one of which, "Curly's Airship", he says is the most ambitious rock album ever produced to date. "Curly's Airship" is also the first Songstory , name that gives a narrative form of music he loves and whose "Orfeas" is the third avatar. The man is complex and analysis of his music proves it. Indeed, "Orfeas" is certainly an ambitious and complex concept. Beyond the argument (revisiting the myth of Orpheus by modernizing, becoming a rock guitarist Orpheus and Eurydice idolized his muse that he will eventually), it is especially the bias of the composition s 'is original. Judge Smith has decided to register by September formations of different musical styles, each being associated with a training style.
We discover, therefore, in order of appearance on the disc, a Greek bard singing so hard on bombastic guitar arpeggios Hispanic, the Orfeas Band, rock band, Judge Smith using his technique of speech music on the soliloquies of Orfeas , a technique also used in interviews complimented with a string sextet, techno music to symbolize the passage from dream to reality of the heroes of classic opera songs way between Orpheas and Eurydice, played by Lene Lovich and finally a group of metal for the tragic end of the story. If the bard who plays the role of narrator is amusing at best, annoying at worst, the string sextet mixing romantic and contemporary music and that there is not much to say about the passages techno and metal very marked in their respective genres, back on the other three sets. Orfeas The Band plays instrumental rock classic, even if an instrument is an accordion relatively discreet. It serves mainly as a backdrop to the two soloists are impeccable as John Ellis and David Jackson . John Ellis (the "hands of Orfeas") treats us gratifying guitar solos and removed. David Jackson shines for her many saxophone in However, a register wiser than he who was in his VDGG . The duets between Judge Smith and Lene Lovitch resemble vocal improvisations: no guidelines really emerges from these "songs", this is a conversation where protagonists are expressed in these notes as in musicals where the music follows the text and not the other.
Finally the six soliloquies and two interviews using an original technique called speech music whereby every inflection of the voice is converted into its equivalent music. The "score" is then created and played by an instrument whose sound is superimposed on the voice, generating an echo phenomenon, all served on a discreet orchestration. The effect is pretty amazing and made the soliloquies are sufficiently short that the surprise did not turn into annoyance. All these styles are intertwined in the album, giving a report to the staff and less chaotic. Unnecessary to consider what was coming off the lot titles, "Orfeas" is an indivisible whole that we appreciate as a whole or rejected as totally.
But creativity, inventiveness, attention to detail, the factual quality of the interpretation are undeniable. All sprinkled with a healthy dose of humor. As for assessing the results, it's just a matter of personal taste.
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